Merc's GLK successor finally comes to UK
Meet the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLC, Daimler's mid-sized crossover to rival the likes of the BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60. It's larger than its predecessor, packed with the latest group technology and there's a plug-in hybrid version boasting CO2 emissions as low as 60g/km.
The GLK-replacing SUV was unveiled at an event in Stuttgart, where engineers spelled out to CAR the secrets behind the new, larger 4x4 which is based heavily on C-class running gear.
And the good news is, this one is finally crossing the Channel and going on sale in the UK in right-hand drive. Earlier iterations of the GLK couldn't accommodate a steering wheel swap without expensive re-engineering to the 4wd system - so it was never sold here.
Mercedes GLC: at a glance
This SUV is bigger than the car it replaces, liberating more space for passengers and their luggage. At 4656mm long and 1890mm wide, it is but a millimetre away from the target BMW X3's footprint. Mercedes claims the larger package boasts 57mm more rear legroom and front elbow room, while the boot inflates to a capacious 580 litres (or 1600 with the rear seats folded down).
Yet, as is the modern fashion, despite the extra inches, the new 2016-model-year GLC is in fact lighter than the GLK to the tune of 80kg. That's achieved mostly through a lighter body, which saves 50 kilos thanks to more widespread use of aluminium.
And all that room is nicely dressed, as is the Mercedes fashion. If you like the C-class interior - and we do - you'll feel comfortable in a GLC, with its classy materials, modern design and touchscreen-dominated centre console.
The engine line-up
At launch, all GLCs will be powered by four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. No V6s are available yet, although we understand they will follow. Of particular interest is the GLC 350e 4Matic plug-in hybrid, capable of 146mph and 0-62mph in 5.9sec matched to a more puritanical 21-mile zero-emissions electric range and 60g/km of CO2. These modern Merc hybrids are practically alive, a haptic accelerator pedal pulsing to encourage more saintly driving.
The full line-up confirmed at launch includes:
GLC 220d 4Matic 168bhp, 8.3sec 0-62mph, 56mpg, from 129g/km CO2
GLC 250d 4Matic 201bhp, 7.6sec 0-62mph, 56mpg, from 129g/km CO2
GLC 250 4Matic 208bhp, 7.3sec 0-62mph, 43mpg, from 143g/km CO2
Will there be a sporty GLC?
The exciting news is there might be a GLC Coupe in the pipeline; Daimler showed a sleeker, BMW X4-rivalling version at the 2015 Shanghai motor show and we understand the GLC may follow its GLE big brother with a more sporting cross-coupe mash-up.
And if you can't wait for a GLC Coupe, then rest assured there will be an barmy AMG version. Although not yet confirmed, CAR understands a GLC63 AMG is a formality, sporting the same 5.5-litre turbocharged V8 you'll find in a C63 AMG. With around 500bhp, this'll be one very sporty utility vehicle indeed.